I lay out the beans, symbolic of the vegetarian diet Esther may have kept while hiding her Jewish heritage in the palace, and I wonder how much longer it will be until our children will be told by the world to hide their faith so as "not to offend" others, and what disobedience may cost.
(around minute 2)
"If I perish, I perish."
Is teaching my children the weight of Esther's words too dramatic in this day and age, in the "land of the free"?
I lay the cloth over the challah, picturing the dewdrops on the manna, and my heart says no. The light we have can't be covered up, and I know that the lines drawn against God in this country will not be withdrawn; they will simply be pushed further. I know that it will be acceptable to be anything except for a follower of Jesus Christ, and that my History Book has already spelled out what lies ahead.
I set out the orchids with five petals clothed in royal purple, delicate "stars" like Hadassah Esther. Is this what I want? To lay out my own delicate stars to the mercies of times such as this, in times of trampling?
I picture my Saviour's hands, tearing the unleavened bread for me with hands that would soon be pierced...
And I already know the answer. This world requires Esthers. And their feet may carry them towards palace doors in fear and trembling in the years to come.
What is a mother to do?
We can start by knowing that we are not here to save our country.
We are here to save the souls of our countrymen, and it is of my belief that in the coming generations, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ will come with a heavy price that will escalate beyond losing a job, and that Satan loves to see us "talking politics" instead of "talking Jesus," and that we should prepare our children accordingly.
I turn back to my table, with the Good News spread before me on butcher-block, whispering "fulfillment".
I pray over the candles that I will speak more boldly to those who do not know, because the stranger in line next to me, the waitress with a heavy heart, and the woman who cuts my hair is Somebody's Little Girl, and He is waiting for HER:
And although God can reach down and save His children at any moment, who is to say I was not placed in that line, in that table, in that chair "for such a time as this?"
Am I really so confident that my "light" is shining so brightly and perfectly to everyone I encounter that my witness needs no words? Thank you, Dear Jesus, that my actions are not all I have. I have The Word, and I have a voice, and I have a Truth above all truths, and I have the Holy Spirit. Let me lead my children to these precious tools, by God's good grace, as I learn to use them.
Paul breaks the bread, we bow our heads. We say the words:
"Although the Jews were sentenced to death by King Xerxes' original decree, through Queen Esther's intervention and willingness to perish, God spared the bloodline of the Child who was to save ALL of His children...
And while all of us who have sinned have been issued a decree of death, through the intervention of Jesus Christ on the cross, the Old Decree has been satisfied and the New Proclamation of eternal life has been established."
I realize that at this table, we are asking our children to grow into witnesses who will be ready to give an answer, and who will carry the keys of freedom to those who are chained, because the sadness is EVERYWHERE.
They will watch and wait and stare as their mother takes the time to present the Gospel in full to a waitress who never knew, with hands holding tight and tears streaming, the tray set aside and duties forgotten as chains begin to unravel.
They will know that Mommy once was lost, and now she is Found.
They will know that their father does not strive to be an engineer or "a good man", he wants to be a tent-maker, true to his name.